PERM PRESS

an electronic arts magazine

Issue 1 | March 2019 


A Note from the Curator

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A poem from Italian-Colombian painter Giorgio Celin and a series of photos from Italian PhD student in Riccardo Testolin, paired with a recipe, along with recommendations for reading, viewing and listening. A first of what I hope to be a series of many. Treat this dispatch as a Friday review, to be read on the way home from work or on the way out of town, on the way to the bar or in bed Saturday morning. A little drop in the bucket, a short verse read out loud on the tram, the blow of a horn in an alley, a bucket to send down into the well.

Many years ago in an East Atlanta attic, the name PERM PRESS came to me in a flash of fluorescent pink and hair curlers. I smashed out an old TV screen I found in the basement, spray painted the frame, lined the interior with tinfoil, installed a door with hinges and started throwing in ideas for what I wanted to publish — scraps of poems, horoscopes cut out from newspapers, flyers ripped off of telephone poles, glitter, recipes, movie stills, knick-knacks. It was some strange shrine assembled from trash and ephemera, as if I was conjuring a spell.

When I opened the depository months later, I dumped it out and started to piece together my findings. There were some poems hidden in there, but I couldn’t uncover anything else of substance. The TV was eventually moved to an apartment above a Jamaican restaurant in the Old Fourth Ward, where I toyed around with the idea of starting the press again — a DIY zine that would be distributed across the city in identical little busted out televisions bedazzled in hot pink, foil and glitter — but the idea never made it off the page.

I don’t know what happened to the TV when I moved to Buenos Aires, but the idea stayed with me. Dan and I founded OOMPH! around that same time — an international literary journal publishing poetry and short prose in translation — and that project set sail. It wasn’t until I was in Roma that I stumbled across work that not only resonated with me, but aligned with the PERM aesthetic that I had in my head. And here we are.

I first heard Giorgio Celin read his poem, “L’alato bambino” (The winged child) at Suddenly Every Wednesday — a reading series ran by Jahan Khajavi at Garbo Bar in Trastevere — and I was mesmerized by the sheer movement of the verse. A poem filled with vivid imagery accented with literary allusions,

-AG